Despite starting off the 2019 portion of the basketball season with three straight losses, the Dallas Center-Grimes boys’ basketball team has rattled off three straight victories over the last three games.
Starting on January 15, the Mustangs held off a late game rally by non-conference rival ADM to begin the three game winning streak. DC-G then produced their second largest scoring total of the season in a 70-55 win over Greene County, all before taking a ten point win over Newton in their last game. The winning streak has brought the team two games under .500, a mark that the Mustangs haven’t been able to match or beat since December 7 of 2018 when their record stat even at 2-2.
What began as a slow start to the season as a whole has now grown to an exciting state of basketball for DC-G with many aspects working quite well. Not only have the Mustangs averaged over 57 points per game over the last three contests, since the beginning of 2019, DC-G boys’ basketball has been averaging 55 points per game, a mark which took all of eight games to match at the beginning of the season. There have also been great strides made in the likes of rebounding where DC-G has managed an average of 21 rebounds per contest over the past four games alone.
Certainly a lot has been going right for the Mustangs recently, but as complex as things may appear, the big reason for the recent turnaround boils down to more simple reasons.
“A lot of things that we struggled with earlier in the season and had to continually focus on has now started to become more of a habit,” began head coach Joel Rankin. “Now we are doing many things right without thinking about it which then gives us the ability to be more consistent in our performances knowing we don’t have to exert too much effort on the little things.”
One such aspect that has become more positively habitual in nature has been on the defensive front. The Mustangs have not allowed no more than 55 points in each of the past three wins and once again, consistency has reigned supreme.
“We’ve definitely improved in the defense and rebounding areas,” began Rankin. “We are a team built on transition defense and to be successful within the system, limiting fast break and second chance points is a must. That’s what we’ve been seeing more of the last three games. We’ve been much more effective in limiting easy buckets for the other team and forcing them to take longer, more contested shots. We’ve been good about forcing the other team off balance during rebounds which in turn has provided for quicker scoring opportunities on our end. We’ve basically flipped the script.”
While the team as a whole did recognize there would be tough times ahead, everyone also recognized there would be good times as well.
“We may be a younger team than most and we may learn some things the hard way, but that’s the thing, we still learn in the process,” began senior star Tyler Borneman. “We play well as a group and we have a lot going for us, now the next piece to the puzzle is learning how to play at such a high level. I believe we are doing that now.”
Next on the docket as DC-G looks to continue their winning ways, is a rematch with conference foe Grinnell on Friday, January 25. Last time out, the contest spurred on some heavy offense as both teams posted up what still has been their highest single game scoring totals of the season. Both teams hovered around 50 percent field goal shooting on the night, the highest marks for both teams up to that point.
Now, on the heels of round two, the stakes remain high and the same aspects that have helped the Mustangs earn their three game winning streak will need to once again come into play.
“Grinnell is a strong shooting team and the best way to limit them offensively is to limit their scoring opportunities,” began coach Rankin. “We’ve bee strong in our transition defense lately and that will need to be strong again Friday in order for us to come out on top.”
Pending mother nature lets the game continue on as planned, the contest between Grinnell and Dallas Center-Grimes will take place Friday, January 25, beginning at 7:45 p.m.